I was out of ideas when I sat down at the front desk, choosing between the tour packages. We’ve been island hopping and snorkeling for the last 2 days and our remaining tour of Malcapuya beaches are not available. I circled around the walls of that small shop, until the banner for Diving packages caught my attention. Scuba diving is not bad at all and we can still adjust our money to buy it, but the problem is, I’m afraid of deep seas. This will be my first diving experience.
I admit, I enrolled for swimming lessons 2 years ago. I want to learn at least how to float and enjoy my upcoming trips. It’s a shame I lived in a country of a thousand islands and yet I can’t swim, so when the chance came, I grabbed it!
The problem though, I’m still weary when it comes to the open sea and signing up for a Fun Dive is one courageous act. I’m excited but nervous at the same time; it heightens when I’m finally at the boat together with 4 other divers.
S.C.U.B.A – Self Contained Underwater Buoyancy Apparatus. I still remember it right. We were given that long wet-suit which I’ve dreamt of wearing for once in my life. A heavy life vest that can inflate and deflate are also given to us. Add up the aqua shoes, fins and that oh so heavy air tank on your back which I can’t really carry without another help. All outfit complete. I just need to get on the water, seems easy, but apparently not.
I’m the last to jump in the water. I thought I’ll be able to see some example from those who went before me, but sick as heck, I thought it’s easy!! I never knew standing on the edge of the boat can be one of the dizziest time of my life. Thinking that the weight on my back will not let me get my first air, I hesitated for a while and forgotten that I have the air host. It’s really hard to breathe in that apparatus and I’m one fast breather when I’m nervous. But no choice! It’s better than nothing.
I jump and closed my eyes, I struggled to lift my head into the water. The mask keeps getting water and though it’s not where I breathe, it feels like I’m drowning. The assistant diver looks like losing his patience because of me. But what can I do?! Haha He gave me a few minutes before we start with the diving exercises.
The diving exercises seems easy and I’m not yet afraid because we’re on the shallow part with the sand on my feet. I was separated with the two other beginners. I don’t know if that’s an advantage because I got the teacher all for myself, but I realized NO. I became more forgiving to myself. I realized that having a one-on-one lesson will only tolerate my stubbornness.
When we officially set out to start diving, I was happy despite my fear. I tried my best to use the apparatus correctly. And though I’m enjoying what I see, I can’t take out the fact that my mask is being infiltrated with water. With every exhale, the mask move up and let in water and it’s so frustrating. All through out that diving experience, that’s my only problem. I keep asking the instructor if the mask is right for me, but later I realized it’s too big.
|Not me sadly|
The first dive was really a trial, I don’t even get the chance to take pictures. The second one was a disappointment, I didn’t even swim. My fear and lack of comfort really did pushed me behind the scene, and though there’s still a chance to dive in Batangas, I regret not having to do it in Coron.
Even though I didn’t make it more than 3 meters, the view is enough to motivate me to do better, to take diving seriously. Who doesn’t want it if you can see those big corals that looked like pumpkins, those sea anemones, the number of fishes swimming in front of you and the inside of a shipwreck? It’s a completely different world under and it’s a privilege we get for having an abundant sea, what’s more if you’re already on site?!
|My only picture|
In the end, scuba diving is still one experience I will hold dear. It’s a frustrating struggle but I’m still thankful I tried it. I had a close encounter on what’s under and it’s a far cry from underwater pictures. I became one step closer to the place I love, and though I didn’t overcome my fear and discomfort, the experience is enough motivation for me to discover more seas, beaches and interesting places. Simply put, I always don’t get enough. Travel is an increasing desire, and no matter what challenges I may be in, I don’t get discouraged, just inspired.